Fort Peck Community College
605 Indian Street
P.O. Box 398
Poplar , MT 59255
Mission, Vision, Educational Philosophy
Fort Peck Community College (FPCC) follows an educational philosophy that promotes the preservation of Indian culture, history, and beliefs, while simultaneously preparing students for employment opportunities.
The college’s mission is to serve the people of the Fort Peck Reservation and northeastern Montana as a medium of creating Indian awareness to enable increased self-awareness. It offers an academic program that enables students to earn credits in beginning college courses so that they can transfer to other institutions of post-secondary and higher education after their completion. FPCC serves the reservation population by maintaining an occupational training program based on the needs of people living on and near the reservation and the potential employment opportunities available in the region. The college also initiates and supports community activities and organizations based on the needs and wishes of community members.
The history of FPCC dates back to 1969, when Dawson Community College offered the first post-secondary extension courses on the reservation. In 1977, a similar agreement with Miles Community College to offer additional courses supplemented the opportunities available to tribal members. By 1977, the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes established its tribal education department responsible for continuing development of the tribal college. The tribes officially chartered Fort Peck Community College in May 1978. FPCC granted its first associate degree in 1987.
FPCC received accreditation by the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities in 1991. It received land grant status in 1994.
Geographic Features and Challenges
Located on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in northeast Montana, FPCC has two campuses.
Poplar, site of the main FPCC campus, also serves as headquarters for the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribal Government, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Indian Health Service. The Wolf Point campus, 22 miles west of Poplar, includes the new FPCC Wolf Point College Center.
FPCC serves a rurally isolated community, with the nearest city of Billings more than 300 miles away. During times of economic recession or decline, the mostly agrarian reservation economy often suffers greatly, with few economic and educational opportunities for the 6,000 reservation residents. Recruiting and retaining highly qualified faculty members remains an ongoing challenge.
Academics and Students
Fort Peck Community College offers associate’s degrees in 19 different areas of study and 11 one-year vocational certification programs. The college works with Rocky Mountain College, Montana State University-Northern, and the University of Montana, through its articulation agreements to allow students to acquire bachelor’s degrees in elementary education, business, technology, information technology, and psychology. FPCC also has agreements with Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, and University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, allowing faculty access to executive master’s in business administration graduate programs.
Of the approximately 450 students who attend FPCC each year, 63 percent pursue their studies full-time, 82 percent are American Indian and 63 percent are female. The number of students graduating from FPCC with an associate’s degree increased from 14 in 2006 to 35 in 2010. FPCC
The college employs 27 full-time faculty and 26 part-time faculty. In 2008, the college estimated that less than half of its faculty had attained a bachelor’s degree or higher.
Other Outstanding Accomplishments
In accordance with its mission, FPCC embraces its role as provider of lifelong learning opportunities for all tribal members. The college’s Community Service Department spearheads these efforts by providing programming and services in three broad areas: agriculture and extension, K-12 outreach, and health and wellness.
The Department of Community Services Agriculture Division identifies and implements agriculturally-related trainings that promote maximized productivity of the reservation’s farming and ranching operations. The division also offers youth-specific programming.
The K-12 Outreach Division of the Department of Community Services promotes college preparation and transition programming for students and extends programmatic opportunities for adults. FPCC’s K-12 Outreach programs include Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs, Project Eagle, and its BRIDGES program.
The Health and Wellness Division operates primarily out of two Daya Tibi Health and Wellness Centers, one in Poplar and the other in Wolf Point. Programs and services that include diabetes education, exercise, and nutrition programs promote the concept of total health and well-being amongst tribal members.